Ohio unemployment

a graphic of COVID deaths
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Cuyahoga County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 12.9%. That statistic has led the state to pilot a new program there to help connect people to training and available jobs.

Called Ohio to Work, the program has been developed by the state’s JobsOhio agency, which its director J.B. Nauseef said today during the governor’s coronavirus briefing is uniquely capable of doing this quickly because of its structure.

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NUCLEAR REGULATOR COMMISSION

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, July 24:

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MARK AREHART / WKSU

Help is being made available for Akron water and sewer customers struggling to pay utility bills due to economic hardship from the effects of COVID-19.

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DOVETAIL WIND AND SOLAR

Clean energy advocates say the industry in Ohio has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. An analysis of Labor Department data by the group Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2 finds more than 20,000 Ohioans who worked in the clean energy industry have filed for unemployment since March.

That’s almost 20% of the more than 114,000 employed in the industry at the end of last year.

Micaela Preskill is from E2. She says the industry needs policymakers' support to get back on track.

A bill that would have allowed an extension of benefits to unemployed Ohioans who are at risk or have medical conditions that could be deadly if they contract COVID-19 has been in the works at the Statehouse. But the sponsor of that legislation says it is not necessary now that Gov. Mike DeWine has issued an executive order.

The fund by which Ohio pays jobless benefits is officially broke, and the state has asked to borrow more than $3 billion so payments can keep going out to unemployed workers.

A photo of the Career Services Facebook live.
STARK STATE COLLEGE/FACEBOOK

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression. In Ohio, April’s unemployment rate was close to 17%.  Stark State College wants to help those in need of work. It’s offering free career services to community members.

People can get help exploring career paths and job opportunities, improving resumes and interviewing.

In a Facebook live session, Career Services Coordinator Natalie Harrington described their assistance as more personal than getting help online.

The woman in charge of the state agency that administers the unemployment system was on the hot seat yesterday as a panel of state lawmakers questioned her about inefficiencies in the system. 

Ohio’s unemployment rate nearly tripled in just a month and set a record as COVID-19 closures and the state’s stay at home order fully hit economic activity.

The Ohio Department Job and Family Services has paid more than $2 billion in unemployment claims to nearly 560,000 Ohioans since mid-March. But that’s only half of the 1.1 million claims that have been filed.

Nearly a million Ohioans - 964,556 people - have filed for unemployment in the last five weeks, more than the combined total in the last two years.  But more are coming as thousands of Ohioans who are self-employed or independent contractors have been waiting to file for unemployment under new federal rules.

The numbers of Ohioans filing for unemployment benefits are rising daily – so many that the state’s unemployment website was having trouble handling them. And the state is now clarifying why it will no longer do daily releases about how many people are filing jobless claims.

a photo of a "help wanted" sign
LOUIS ROTH

The latest numbers from state officials show that Ohio's unemployment rate didn't change at all in December.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services says the unemployment rate in Ohio stayed at 4.2% in December, same as November. And it's down nearly half a point since December 2018. 

Looking at the numbers over the year, the state says Ohio saw the addition of more than 27,000 jobs in 2019. 

But critics have said Ohio's job growth last year was the same as in 2018, and it lags behind the national unemployment rate of 3.5%.

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PASKO MAXSUM / SHUTTERSTOCK

Ohio has a new tool to detect bogus claims by the few people who try to scam the state for unemployment checks each year. 

The state uses new hire reports from employers, cross matches with prison and jail records and other government documents to try to detect fraud. Bret Crowe with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says it’s adding another tool by partnering with a national data hub.

“By searching for matching data used in fraud claims in other states,” Crowe said. “So, we are tied into a national database of unemployment claims.”

Manufacturing
WIKIMEDIA / WIKIMEDIA

The state’s jobless rate last month was unchanged from July.  But that’s mixed news to some who watch the economy.

American Forum / American Forum

Ohio has been gaining jobs over the last few years, and its unemployment rate hit its lowest level in 17 years a few months ago. But there are other numbers in the state’s economic overview that raise concerns for a progressive group that reviews the economy each year on Labor Day.  

Amy Hanauer with Policy Matters Ohio said the State of Working Ohio report shows workers are more productive and educated, but there are still pay gaps between men and women and whites and African Americans and little wage growth.